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  1. 10. Just do it (even if it isn’t perfect) The last business tip for new entrepreneurs comes from Nike, just do it. And I don’t just mean starting it. I mean get out of your head, stop overthinking, stop questioning whether you’re making the right call, and just do it. New entrepreneurs can sometimes be well on their way with their business only to have their thoughts cloud their mind. But that only delays your success. Will you make mistakes? You bet. Will there be challenges? Yup, and you’ll need to jump high to get over them. But isn’t this what you signed up for? Entrepreneurship is about going all in. It’s about taking big risks so you can live the life you want. The goal isn’t to win the award of perfection. The goal is to build a business that helps people solve a problem. And the sooner you can do that, the sooner you can make people’s lives better. That’s the impact your business can have on someone’s life. So the sooner you launch it, the more people you can help. oberlo.com
  2. 9. Always be aware of your competitors’ moves Business can be cut-throat. Your competitors will always try to knock you down so that they can remain at the top. While you don’t want to obsess over your competitors you do always want to be aware of what they’re doing so you can stay ahead of the game. Which products and services do they offer? How do they market their brand? How do they price their products and services? How do they treat their customers? You need to find out every little detail in the early stages so that you know how to compete. If you find they offer a great product but terrible customer support, you can put a bigger emphasis on customer relations. The goal is to find out what their overarching weaknesses are and make those are your strength while still having a great collection of services and products for your customers. But remember, don’t obsess too much over the day to day of your competitors. Your obsession should center around your customers and employees. Make those two groups happy and you’re golden. oberlo.com
  3. 8. Start a business that matches your personality According to serial entrepreneur Naval Ravikant, he believes that product/market fit should actually be founder/product/market fit. Essentially, what that means is no one else could run that business better than you. Ideally, you should start a business that matches your exact skills, experiences, and personality. This goes beyond doing your passion and actually doing what you’re destined to do. How can you contribute meaningfully to the world through your business? By doing something that only you can do, you can create a legacy that lasts while making an impact in the world. To sum up this business tip: start the business only you can start. oberlo.com
  4. 7. Focus on employee morale The best boss I’ve ever had once told me that her secret to building a productive team centered around making her employees happy. And it was true. We celebrated something all the time. On my last day, I literally cried because I didn’t want to leave. I only left because I knew I had to step out of my part-time university job and gain more impactful marketing experience. I worked in that role eight years ago and still stay in touch with all my coworkers to this day. That’s how long-lasting the impact of employee morale is. Unfortunately, it’s often the one thing entrepreneurs fail to focus on. Most first time entrepreneurs try to act like a boss. And literally no employee wants one of those. Your employees want to feel appreciated, heard, and know that they’re on the right track. If you find yourself constantly criticizing people for not doing it your way, you’ll often find that team performance will drop. The most important business tip when it comes to managing employees is to make them happy. Because if you do that, they’ll be more willing to help you hit your company’s goals. oberlo.com
  5. 6. Start with a narrow focus first and expand Amazon didn’t start as the everything store. It started as a simple bookstore. And they slowly expanded into toys and other products as time went on to expand their business. That’s how you build a general business. One of the most important business tips is to always start with a narrow focus and expand into relevant verticals as you scale. By having a narrow focus, you can build a loyal audience who knows what to expect from you. It also gives you a well-defined audience to make your marketing easier. For example, you can start a women’s fashion store. At first maybe you sell apparel. But eventually you can expand into shoes, jewelry, fashion accessories, or beauty. Or you can go in a different direction and expand into men’s fashion and children’s fashion. Both types of online stores make sense and have natural vertical complements. But first, you do should aim to have a big audience and loyal shoppers. You need to know that there’ll be demand for the verticals you do eventually expand into. oberlo.com
  6. 5. Focus on profit instead of revenue Most entrepreneurs are obsessed with revenue. “I made $900,000 in eight months,” they claim. And you can’t help but ask, “Did you really though?” Because digging deeper, you’ll often find that profit is much more important than revenue. Sure you made $900,000 in revenue but if your profit after eight months is only $10,000 was it really worth the work? And is that even sustainable? Probably not. Make the switch to transition from thinking about revenue to thinking about profit. The more profit you have, the more money you have to reinvest in your business, employees, and your own success. As an entrepreneur, you get paid last. Your startup expenses need to be paid first. So you’ll want to make sure you’re making more than enough money to treat yourself too. Check out Oberlo’s free Profit Margin Calculator to help you earn a profit. oberlo.com
  7. 4.Obsess over customer needs One of the biggest sources of conflict in business comes from unmet needs. If a customer doesn’t get the service or product they were expecting, their needs won’t be met, and they’ll feel frustrated. The most important business tip when it comes to managing customer relations is to always empathize with the customer. When you recognize their frustration as pain from not having their needs met, it’s easier not to take the insults they hurl at you, personally. Instead, you can focus on trying to listen to what they say by mirroring the intent behind their words. And eventually, you work on coming to a resolution that meets their needs and leaves your customer feeling heard. By doing this instead of simply giving a refund, you open the doors to building a long-term relationship with them even if they were upset with their first experience with your brand. To learn more about how to do this, you can read Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD. oberlo.com
  8. 3. Solve a burning problem An important business tip for new entrepreneurs is to create a business that solves a problem. If you asked most failed business owners what problem they solved, they either can’t answer or the problem they solved wasn’t urgent enough. The problem you solve doesn’t need to be complicated like curing a disease. It can be simple, such as we help people overcome boredom by providing an entertaining experience. But ultimately, you need to know what you’re trying to accomplish with your business. By knowing what burning problem you’re solving, you can use that in your marketing to help people understand how you can help them best. For example, if you sell anti-snoring products, you’ll want your ad to show the frustration a snorer can have on a person’s sleep. And then showcase your product as the handy solution that’ll allow them to sleep through the night again. oberlo.com
  9. 2. Choose the right niche The selection of the niche is where people often realize they’ve made a mistake. If you go too broad with a general business, you might struggle to know who your audience is. If you’re too specific with a barre class socks store, you might find your niche is too narrow. Not only that but there’s also a seasonality aspect. For example, if you’re obsessed with Christmas, you could build a Christmas business but you might struggle to find customers for your products in February. Another business tip to consider is whether you’ll be able to remarket to customers for years to come. For example, if you’re selling maternity clothing, women are only pregnant for nine months. After she gives birth, she likely won’t be shopping on that store anymore. So when it comes to deciding on a niche, choose a niche that’s popular year round (Google Trends can show you how stable a niche is). You’ll also want to choose a niche that’s popular such as at least hundreds of thousands of monthly searches like fashion, beauty, fitness, or home decor. And finally, a niche that isn’t short-term so avoid maternity, weddings, or any niche business you won’t be able to build a long-term email list with. oberlo.com
  10. 1. Build like the Romans The Colosseum is 1949 years old. And for the most part it’s still fairly intact. The material it was built with was stronger than any concrete we use today. It’s beauty is so captivating that millions have flocked to Italy just to look at it in all its glory. The Romans used the best materials, purchased rare marble from other countries, and designed things that were built to last. But when it comes to building a business, there are many entrepreneurs who build for the short-term. They look at a business as a way to make an extra couple thousand bucks. Instead, they should be building something that’ll last for years to come. One of the oldest businesses in the world is based in Japan. Kongo Gumi, a construction company specializing in Buddhist temples, was first launched in 578 AD, making it 1441 years old! Prior to a merger, it had a $70 million annual budget. Focus on building a business with a legacy by doing what you do so often that you do it better than anyone else. Like the Romans, you should focus on high-quality products and like the Japanese you should have a well-defined niche. oberlo.com
  11. 23. Diversify Investments by Location Sanchez Wealth Management recommends diversifying your investments by geographical region. Investing most of your assets in local businesses can increase your risk because if the market were to shift out of favor with your particular location, it could be a disaster to your portfolio. By investing in securities outside of your region or country, you avoid letting the economic troubles of one location ruin your entire investment portfolio. 24. Educate Yourself About the Financial Markets To be successful in your stock investments, it’s always a good idea to educate yourself on what’s happening in the financial markets. According to Feed Rool, being aware of the economy allows you to sell before the price of your stock or asset falls too far. Also, monitor your investments properly and learn to think of new strategies based on the current market conditions. 25. Learn to Allocate Your Assets Efficiently People’s United Bank suggests that small business owners should learn different asset allocation strategies to be successful in their investments. It’s important to understand that different asset classes behave differently in various economic environments. It allows you to achieve the right asset mix which lets you take advantage of returns when they occur. fitsmallbusiness.com
  12. 20. Invest in a SEP-IRA Jeff Neal, Operations Manager, The Critter Depot Invest in a self-employed pension (SEP) IRA. SEP IRA allows you to take company earnings and deposit up to $55,000 into this IRA. From there, you can invest it into mutual funds or ETFs. Using a SEP-IRA is proven to be a very effective, tax-free way to control a company’s earnings without getting hit with taxes. 21. Hire an Accountant Amy Corbett, Wealth Management Advisor, Northwestern Mutual Don’t do your own accounting. As your business grows, finances become increasingly more complex, which increases the likelihood you’ll spend way too much time trying to make sense of your earnings and expenses in preparation for tax season. Not only is this a way to dodge a guaranteed headache, but it’ll also free up time to grow your business. Invest some of your funds to hire an accountant, and you’ll save yourself from headaches in the long run. 22. Invest in Increasing Your Brand Exposure According to LendGenius, it’s essential to bring your business name out there. Therefore, you should invest a portion of your capital to increase your brand exposure through marketing campaigns, sales meetings, networking events, news articles, public relations interviews and similar activities. These promotion efforts will help introduce your business to prospective customers and generate new leads. fitsmallbusiness.com
  13. 17. Invest in Online Marketing Kosei Okubo, CEO, Founder’s Guide Online marketing is growing by leaps as the number of people using the internet has grown substantially. More than 90 percent of the United States population uses the internet, and it’s believed these users have made a purchase online at least once. To help your business grow, it’s important to set aside a portion of your capital for online marketing. This investment will go a long way as it allows you a wider reach and most of your target audience is on the internet. 18. Invest in a Certificate of Deposit for Lower Risk Melissa St. Clair, Owner, Paper Chaser Pay yourself first. It’s a statement you hear from business coaches, finance gurus and small business owners alike. Not all small business savings or checking accounts earn interest, or if they do, the interest earning rate is very low. Opening a certificate of deposit (CD) is a way to save money at a higher interest rate, compared to your regular savings or checking account. Also, it’s great for conservative investors who don’t want to take high risks. Watch for special promotions from your financial institutions and set up a short or long-term CD to save money for your business’s future. 19. Invest in Search Engine Optimization for Your Website Shawn Breyer, Owner, Breyer Home Buyers Small businesses should invest in assets that continue to produce revenue for them over the long-term. Most people will buy Google AdWords or Facebook Ads for their marketing. Usually, however, they have a one-time opportunity to produce a return. When you stop spending money on them, they stop producing leads for your business. Compare that to investing in search engine optimization (SEO) for your website instead. When you stop spending money on SEO services, your site will still be ranking high for your keywords, and you’ll still be getting organic leads from SEO for months or years after you stop spending money on that. With investing in SEO, you have created an asset that will continue to produce leads and income for your business for a long time. fitsmallbusiness.com
  14. 14. Invest in Your Own Business Colin B. Exelby, President, Celestial Wealth Management One of the most important investments for a small business owner is to invest your time, effort, and money into your own business. If run profitably, rarely are investments available that can compete with the IRR [internal rate of return] of investing in yourself and your company. The problem becomes an overwhelming reliance on the health of the business for future prosperity. 15. Consider Investing in Cryptocurrencies Anant Handa, Co-founder & CSO, Mandala Although still not fully mainstream and in some cases considered obscure, cryptocurrency and blockchain assets have driven an entirely new gig economy, still quite small but growing every day. Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ethereum, and litecoin might not necessarily replace cash or fiat because of price volatility, but they may make a great medium- to long-term investment opportunity. 16. Contribute the Maximum Allowable Amount to Your Retirement Meg Simone, Owner, Meg Simone Films Do not only to save for retirement but do your best to contribute the maximum allowable amount each year. This is critical because as a business owner, you don’t get employee benefits like an employer match or a 401(k). By learning to discipline yourself to contribute the maximum amount, you don’t only put away more money to grow for the maximum amount of time it can, but you can also use it to offset the taxes you owe each year strategically. fitsmallbusiness.com
  15. 11. Invest in Your People John Evarts, CFO & COO, Mediafly As a small business owner, each hiring decision is a step change in the trajectory of your business, for better or worse. The best investments we can make are those that ensure we are able to both attract and retain the best person for every position. Whether that means investing precious time to interview enough people to hire the best-fit candidate, investing your energy to provide guidance and support or investing limited financial resources to craft the perfect compensation and benefits package or optimal workspace. The investments you make in your people can provide more return than any other investment. 12. Setup Automatic Investments into Low-fee Index Funds Michael Wittmeyer, CEO & Co-founder, JM Bullion The simplest and most effective investment strategy for small business owners is to set up automatic investments into low-fee index funds. As a business owner, your energy is largely preoccupied by your company, and it is unlikely you have time to spare for researching and evaluating specific stocks or bonds. By setting up automatic investments, you will dollar-cost average into low-fee index funds, which is a proven method for long-term returns. This strategy also allows you to stay as emotionless as possible with your investing because there is no reason to ever look at day-to-day performance given you aren’t making any day-to-day decisions. Many investors get into trouble when they watch their investments rise and fall daily as they run the risk of letting their emotions cloud their long-term strategy. 13. Invest in Product Offering & Revenue Channels Kyle Baptist, Founder & CEO, Marconi Beach Outfitters Small businesses investments in product offering will increase revenue and profit. Start by looking at the five top-selling products your company offers and expand on those offerings. Know your customers’ needs and find a way to cater to those needs. It may need a lot of brainstorming and require a high initial investment, but the return and increase in profits will all be worth it. fitsmallbusiness.com
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